The Community FoodBank of New Jersey (CFBNJ) today announced the launch of a new Find Food texting service that allows people to easily locate their nearest food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters. The service is available throughout CFBNJ’s eleven-county direct service area, which includes Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, and Union counties.

By texting “FindFood” for English or “Comida” for Spanish to 908-224-7776 and then entering their five-digit zip code, residents can receive the addresses and phone numbers of their nearest food assistance locations, as well as information on additional food assistance benefits.

“Faced with reduced work hours, unemployment, and the loss of free school meals due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so many of our New Jersey neighbors have found themselves in need for the first time in their lives,” said Carlos Rodriguez, President & CEO of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey. “Our goal is to make it as quick and easy as possible for them to access the services offered by CFBNJ’s agency network during this critical time.”

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Feeding America projects a 56% increase in food insecurity in New Jersey as a direct result of COVID-19, a rate higher than the national average and exceeding the projected increases in neighboring states. And, with 750,000 New Jerseyans now facing the loss of the extra $600 per week in enhanced unemployment benefits provided by the CARES Act, the need for food assistance is only growing. One in six New Jersey residents who would otherwise be working are now without this lifeline, though the pandemic and its effects continue on.

Recent months have been record-breaking for CFBNJ, which has distributed more food than ever before in its 45-year history—enough for 30 million nutritious meals from March through July in response to the ongoing crisis. This includes nearly 89,000 emergency meal kits, each with enough nonperishable food to sustain a family for several days.

Residents can also get information about where to find food, how to contact their local boards of services, and how to access additional food benefits by calling CFBNJ’s Food Assistance Line at 1-908-838-4831. More information on CFBNJ can be found online at cfbnj.org.